Activists with the animal rights group PETA are willing to do whatever it takes to make people reject fishing.
Not content to merely lay around on Washington sidewalks topless, the group launched an ad campaign based on a Florida shark attack that nearly killed 21-year-old Charles Wickersham.
PETA has put together a billboard that features a great white shark biting into a severed human leg, with the shocking slogan, “PAYBACK IS HELL. GO VEGAN.”
Worse yet, the group wants to put the billboard up on Florida’s Anna Maria Island, where Wickersham was mauled by a bull shark on Saturday.
“With sharks in the news, we thought it would be a good time to bring up the fact that sharks are not actually the most dangerous predators on the planet – we are,” PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne told the New York Daily News.
Wickersham survived the attack, but the Daily News reports he remains hospitalized with a “severe wound on his left thigh.”
“We are glad that Mr. Wickersham will be okay,” Byrne said. “We hope that after this painful and horrible experience he and other fishermen will consider the pain that fish feel and we hope they will consider taking up another pastime.”
Naturally, locals are outraged.
The Daily News adds:
PETA is still looking for an outdoor advertising company on the island that is willing to put up the hot-button billboard. The organization has casted a wider net throughout surrounding Manatee County.
“If I see one of those billboards that they plan on putting up, I will burn it down,” shark angler Bill Goldschmitt told Florida’s WWSB-TV, an ABC affiliate.
An article at Gizmodo goes further and calls PETA “insane” and “anti-human.”
What do you think about when I say PETA? Animal rights. Celebrities posing naked. Vegetarian and vegan awareness. All great things, right? Sure. Too bad they’re a bunch of reasonless rabblerousers that don’t care about a human life.
Casey Chan, author of the Gizmodo article, warns the group risks alienating people who might otherwise be somewhat sympathetic to their cause:
I understand that PETA’s shock and awe campaigns are meant to get people on both sides riled up. They want to spark discussion and raise awareness. And hey, I guess it’s working, I am writing about it aren’t I? But when we’re talking about using a human life as a sacrifice to jumpstart a campaign that belittles his accident? That’s the line.
Look, there needs to be an organization that cares about animals. At the top of the food chain with a heart for compassion and the ability to affect, us humans should bear their responsibility—they can’t speak for themselves, we need to protect nature. Yes and yes. I couldn’t be happier to support such a thing!
“PETA, next time, please remember where you came from,” Chan writes. “Or I’ll have to start PAETPETA, People Against the Ethical Treatment of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.”
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